Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Rough-leg and Whooper Swans

I managed to get to site without any major problems today which was nice (a Barn Owl enroute was pleasing too), although it was possibly the dullest survey ever! Four hours and not a target species to be had. I was wondering if I had gone blind.

In order to check whether I had gone blind or not I headed home via South Ferriby. A short wait was well worth it as after no time at all I was onto the Rough-legged Buzzard as it was getting mobbed by several corvids. It was about half a mile closer than the last time I saw it which was great. It came fairly close, hovered for a bit and then dropped out of view for a while. It was a really smart bird.

This is another good excuse to show another of Renton Charmans excellent Rough-legged Buzzard photos (below)

Rough-legged Buzzard © Renton Charman 2010

Whilst the Rough-leg was on the deck there was still plenty to look at with at least 3 Marsh Harriers, 2 Peregrine, 1 Kestrel and 3 Common Buzzard buzzing about the place. When the Rough-legged Buzzard finally got up it landed on a fence post and continued to show well. Unfortunately at this point the sun came out right behind it so the views were not great. Something/someone flushed several hundred Pink-footed and Canada Geese from nearby fields and they landed over on Reeds Island. There was also a decent number of Lapwing, Golden Plover on the Island.

I'd thought of going to Wheldrake for the gull roost but changed my mine last minute and headed over to North Duffield Carrs and went down to the Geoff Smith Hide. It was lovely and peaceful with no other people about - bliss!

It was immediately evident that there was less birds present than the other day however there was still plenty of birds about. Some species were present in larger numbers (e.g. Shoveler and Whooper Swan - a total of 116 birds - my highest count of this species at this site) with others in lower numbers (e.g. Wigeon and Teal). The following totals were counted.

65 x Mute Swan, 116 x Whooper Swan, 1 x Black Swan, 115 x Canada Goose, 55 x Greylag Goose, 4 x Shelduck, 73 x Teal, 38 x Shoveler, 2 x Moorhen, 24 x Coot, 5 x Tufted Duck, 11 x Pochard, 9 x Pintail, 1196 x Wigeon, 75 x Mallard, 1 x Goldeneye, 1 x Little Grebe and 11 x Lapwing.

Whooper Swan Headshot

The decrease in Wigeon, Pintail and Teal is likely to be down to the increase in water levels and flooding around the area with birds a lot more distant than the previous visits.

Other birds down at North Duffield Carrs this evening included 1 x Barn Owl, 15 x Reed Bunting, 30 x Tree Sparrow, 3 x Dunnock, plus Robin, Blackbird, Long-tailed tit and various corvids.

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